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Inlays & Onlays


Woman smiling with perfect teethInlays and onlays may be the best option for your mouth if the damage to a tooth is minimal and you would like to preserve as much of the natural tooth as possible. Our office may recommend this as a less invasive option to a crown when repairing the tooth is necessary. At Capital Dental Center, we can help discuss your options for getting an inlay or an onlay and help you decide if this is the best option for you.

What Are Dental Inlays and Onlays?


Dental inlays and onlays are procedures we offer our patients to help restore a damaged or decayed tooth, getting it back to its original condition. When caught in time, our dentists can actually use this process to strengthen the tooth. This is a conservative approach compared to getting a dental crown because we do not need to remove any of the structure of the healthy tooth. Many times this is the choice we prefer to discuss with our patients instead of bridges and crowns.

How Are Inlays and Onlays Different?


Both the inlay and onlay can be used to restore your tooth. The one that we decide to use for you will depend on how much of the natural tooth has been lost. The inlay is a little smaller and is designed to fit into the grooves inside the teeth. The onlay is a little bigger and will fit inside the grooves while also wrapping up and over the cusps. This allows it to cover up more of the surface of the tooth.

We will discuss using an onlay any time the damage in the natural tooth is more extensive, especially if it covers the whole chewing surface of the tooth. If the damage is smaller and more on the inside of the tooth, we will discuss using an inlay.

How Do I Get an Inlay or an Onlay?


During your routine dental exam, we will take a good look at all your teeth and can determine whether the inlay or onlay is even needed. The procedure for the inlay and the onlay will be similar. After discussing your options, we will be able to prepare the tooth, including removing the damaged portion. Our goal is to remove as little of the natural tooth as possible when doing this.

Our team will numb the area with a local anesthetic before removing the damage. This opens up the tooth and allows our professionals to take a mold of the area so we can create the inlay or onlay. We may use a temporary restoration on the tooth if we need a few days to make the new mold. In some cases, we may be able to get it all done during the same day, allowing you to leave with your new inlay or onlay.

When the damage to your tooth is minimal, our dentists may choose to do an inlay or onlay instead of causing potential damage to the natural tooth with a crown. This procedure is less invasive and much easier to complete. If you would like to discuss your options for an inlay or an onlay, call or text Capital Dental Center at 202-978-8778 and make an appointment with our professionals.

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